Classic Mustang Engine Paint Guide

Classic Mustang Engine Paint Guide

Last Updated August 4, 2019 | C.J. Tragakis

For some owners, the detailed minutia of perfectly matching the original factory specifications when applying a fresh coat of paint to their vintage Mustang’s engine simply isn’t a major concern for their project. For others, it’s critical to get every component of the motor looking like it just rolled off the factory floor. Whether this is due to a desire for authenticity and respect to Ford’s original style or as part of a restoration that is designed to win competitions, these helpful guides will assist you in finding the correct engine paint colors for every part of your motor, including the corresponding engine paint codes for various brands.

Classic 1965 Ford Mustang Hood Open Showing Engine Bay
It's certainly not mandatory, but properly painting your vintage Mustang's engine goes a long way in improving the appearance and impressing judges at contests.

Even though the paint that Ford applied from the factory could vary at times due to natural inconsistencies, there are a number of important engine parts that you should paint according to expectations if you want to win over the detail-oriented judges that are scrutinizing your car.

There are essentially two ways that you can paint your Ford Mustang’s engine components. The first is by using an aerosol spray-on paint. The advantages of this are cost and ease of use. Most enthusiasts will probably use aerosol paints, and this is a completely valid way of repainting an engine.

However, there are some advantages to automotive paint. It tends to be more durable and you don’t run the risk of dealing with an inconsistent spray from an aerosol can. You can use either a pneumatic spray or brush it on (using a foam brush). Moreover, it can be easier to match the color you’re after with these paints, especially since you can have a paint store do a custom mix.

Let’s take a look at the paint colors for the engine parts on these early Mustangs, with a Dupli-Color spray option and a PPG (Omni) automotive paint option for each one. You can use the paint codes listed to easily find the correct color from each company. For the black colors, you can essentially take your pick of a gloss black engine from any paint manufacturer. This semi-gloss black spray will get the job done nicely.

Starting with the 1964 ½ Mustangs, you can see that there were a variety of colors used on various components. The Light Ford Blue used is actually quite similar in shade to the original 1970 Grabber Blue.

1964.5 Mustang Engine Paint Guide
Engine ComponentColorDupli-Color AerosolPPG/Omni Automotive Paint
170ci Valve Cover Red Dupli-Color 1605 PPG 73124
170ci Air Cleaner Red Dupli-Color 1605 PPG 73124
170ci Block, Heads, Oil Pan Black Dupli-Color 1635 (semigloss black), Dupli-Color 1613 (gloss black) DAR-9000
260ci Valve Cover Light Ford Blue (Ford Blue) Dupli-Color 1601 PPG 2230 - Grabber Blue
260ci Air Cleaner Light Ford Blue (Ford Blue) Dupli-Color 1601 PPG 2230 - Grabber Blue
260ci Block, Heads, Intake Manifold, Oil Pan Black Dupli-Color 1635 (semigloss black), Dupli-Color 1613 (gloss black) DAR-9000
289ci Valve Cover Gold Dupli-Color 1604 PPG 26635
289ci Air Cleaner Gold Dupli-Color 1604 PPG 26635
289ci Block, Heads, Intake Manifold, Oil Pan Black Dupli-Color 1635 (semigloss black), Dupli-Color 1613 (gloss black) DAR-9000
289ci High Performance Valve Cover Chrome N/A N/A
289ci High Performance Air Cleaner Chrome N/A N/A
289ci High Performance Block, Heads, Intake Manifold, Oil Pan Black Dupli-Color 1635 (semigloss black), Dupli-Color 1613 (gloss black) DAR-9000

The 1965 "proper" models brought about some subtle but important changes to the scheme when compared to the 1964 1/2 models.

1965 Mustang Engine Paint Guide
Engine ComponentColorDupli-Color AerosolPPG/Omni Automotive Paint
200ci Valve Cover Red Dupli-Color 1605 PPG 73124
200ci Air Cleaner Red Dupli-Color 1605 PPG 73124
200ci Block, Heads, Oil Pan Black Dupli-Color 1635 (semigloss black), Dupli-Color 1613 (gloss black) DAR-9000
289ci Valve Cover Gold Dupli-Color 1604 PPG 26635
289ci Air Cleaner Gold Dupli-Color 1604 PPG 26635
289ci Block, Heads, Intake Manifold, Oil Pan Black Dupli-Color 1635 (semigloss black), Dupli-Color 1613 (gloss black) DAR-9000
289ci High Performance Valve Cover Chrome N/A N/A
289ci High Performance Air Cleaner Chrome N/A N/A
289ci High Performance Block, Heads, Intake Manifold, Oil Pan Black Dupli-Color 1635 (semigloss black), Dupli-Color 1613 (gloss black) DAR-9000

Ford Corporate Blue Engine Paint from 1968 Ford Mustang Brochure
The switch to using solely Ford Corporate Blue paint on the motors gave the engine bay a distinctive signature look...and made things much easier and less expensive at the factory.

1966 and later models were painted solely with Ford’s signature Corporate Blue, not only for the Mustang but also for the other models in Ford’s line-up. This made things easier at the factory but also created a signature design. Ford even pointed out in some marketing literature that the paint didn’t have any performance or longevity benefits, it was simply a symbol of the company’s dedication to making great engines. As soon as a consumer popped the hood and saw the blue motor, they would know that it was powered by Ford and “built to the highest standard of engineering excellence.” This trend continued until the 1982 model year when Ford switched to a gray color. Later on, they ceased painting engines altogether and instead left them looking “natural.”

There are a number of good options out there to achieve this signature color, including this dark blue paint by Seymour that is specially designed for vintage Mustangs.

1966 Mustang Engine Paint Guide
Engine ComponentColorDupli-Color AerosolPPG/Omni Automotive Paint
All Engines: All parts besides valve cover bolts Ford Corporate Blue (Ford Dark Blue) Dupli-Color Ford Corporate Blue 1606 PPG 13358

Ford's Corporate Blue trend continued for 1967 and 1968, but the new 390ci engine had some parts that were left as natural, unpainted chrome. It's not clear if the valve cover bolts were painted or not past 1966, though we've heard anecdotal evidence that judges will ding a 1967 Mustang for having valve cover bolts that are painted. We'd recommend leaving them natural chrome for any Mustang model years prior to 1971.

1967 Mustang Engine Paint Guide
Engine ComponentColorDupli-Color AerosolPPG/Omni Automotive Paint
All Engines: All parts besides valve cover bolts (plus valve covers and air cleaner top on 390ci) Ford Corporate Blue (Ford Dark Blue) Dupli-Color Ford Corporate Blue 1606 PPG 13358
390ci Valve Covers and Air Cleaner Top Chrome N/A N/A
1968 Mustang Engine Paint Guide
Engine ComponentColorDupli-Color AerosolPPG/Omni Automotive Paint
All Engines: All parts besides valve cover bolts (plus valve covers and air cleaner top on 390ci) Ford Corporate Blue (Ford Dark Blue) Dupli-Color Ford Corporate Blue 1606 PPG 13358
390ci Valve Covers and Air Cleaner Top Chrome N/A N/A
1969 Mustang Engine Paint Guide
Engine ComponentColorDupli-Color AerosolPPG/Omni Automotive Paint
All Engines: All parts besides valve cover bolts Ford Corporate Blue (Ford Dark Blue) Dupli-Color Ford Corporate Blue 1606 PPG 13358
1970 Mustang Engine Paint Guide
Engine ComponentColorDupli-Color AerosolPPG/Omni Automotive Paint
All Engines: All parts besides valve cover bolts Ford Corporate Blue (Ford Dark Blue) Dupli-Color Ford Corporate Blue 1606 PPG 13358
1971 Mustang Engine Paint Guide
Engine ComponentColorDupli-Color AerosolPPG/Omni Automotive Paint
All Engines: All parts Ford Corporate Blue (Ford Dark Blue) Dupli-Color Ford Corporate Blue 1606 PPG 13358
1972 Mustang Engine Paint Guide
Engine ComponentColorDupli-Color AerosolPPG/Omni Automotive Paint
All Engines: All parts Ford Corporate Blue (Ford Dark Blue) Dupli-Color Ford Corporate Blue 1606 PPG 13358
1973 Mustang Engine Paint Guide
Engine ComponentColorDupli-Color AerosolPPG/Omni Automotive Paint
All Engines: All parts Ford Corporate Blue (Ford Dark Blue) Dupli-Color Ford Corporate Blue 1606 PPG 13358

Image Credit: Ford

Classic Mustang Engine Paint Guide

From casual passersby to extremely critical show judges, having a vintage Mustang that has a properly painted engine is sure to impress. Whether you’re restoring a motor from the ground up or just want to apply a fresh coat of paint, check out this guide to find the ideal color for every component.

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